I grew up less than 20 miles from this very spot, but only rarely visited the redwoods, and this was my first time in this grove. On a recent trip north for a visit with family, I stopped for a night in Humboldt Redwoods State Park to do some shooting. Never have I been so challenged to wrangle a decent composition as under the redwoods! Most of the forest floor in other parts of the park is extremely busy with decomposing organic matter and foliage, and that made a compositional challenge for me.
This is Grieg-French-Bell Grove, famous for the rare, thick, dense sorrel groundcover that thrives in this bend-in-the-river from the fog coming up the Eel River. I specifically chose this location because of the carpet of redwood sorrel. This groundcover helped me isolate the subject and allowed a degree of compositional clarity that I was struggling to get in other groves.
I walked the area the night before, and made this my first visit in the morning. I was hoping for a foggy sunbeam shot here, but it just didn't happen. My goal, instead, was to minimize the bright, overexposed areas of light coming through the trees and isolate the myriad redwood trunks emerging from the sorrel.
I used a wider lens with no filters to shoot this 5-image panorama. There were so many paths through the sorrel, I could only wonder what kind of images I would've captured from the path not taken.
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 17-40L @30mm
5 vertical exposures stitched together
30 seconds (each exposure) @ F16
RRS pano bar